By Gustavo Arellano
Chente, sad that the Latin Grammys suck so much
Over a decade ago, I wrote an op-ed piece for what was called Pacific News Service but is now New American Media bemoaning how pathetic the Latin Grammys were due to their lack of Mexican music. "The definers of Latin culture," I wrote then, "have decided that the most popular Latin music genre in the United States isn't worthy of promotion because it might lead people to believe that Latinos are poor and culturally backward, not slick and 'with it.'"
Back then, the Latin Grammys had just weathered a boycott in 2000 by major Mexican music labels protesting the invisibility of canción mexicana in the event. Flash-forward to today -- the awards are tonight -- and little has improved. Sure, scheduled to perform are Mexican recording artists like Calibre 50 (one of those groups that combine accordions with tubas that drive us traditionalists crazy but is what the kids like nowadays) with Banda Carnaval; Newport Beach's Mariachi Sol de Mexico (problematic in their own, Balboa Bay Club-patronizing way) teamed up with ranchera feminist Paquita la del Barrio; and Latin alternative songstress Natalia Lafourcade, no doubt performing something off her so-so album of covers from the Agustín Lara songbook.
But this year's iteration -- in a ceremony anticipated only by Latino reporters for American-media-networks-giving-token-attention-to-Latinos seeking to score free tickets -- proves the ceremony will continue to be what it's always been: an anti-Mexican sham of a show.More »